Well, it’s 10:53 p.m. central time on Thursday night, and I am currently four days and 1,274 miles into the three week road trip I began with my two brothers, Lavi and Howie, earlier this week. We left Pittsburgh on Monday afternoon after having spent the weekend celebrating my graduation from Carnegie Mellon, an event which certainly warrants an entry of its own, one I will write as soon as I get some time to sit down and flesh out my thoughts. But for now, I’m about 107 miles outside of Dallas, and because I was relegated to sitting in the backseat for the next two hours figured this would be as good a time as any to start writing about our trip.
So far, we have spent the last three nights in Nashville and Memphis, both of which are cities that I thoroughly enjoyed visiting and getting to know, albeit briefly. We also had the chance to make a stop in Louisville, KY for dinner on Monday night, as well as a quick detour late this afternoon in Little Rock, AK. I think what I’ll do is try to organize the next few entries into a bullet list of places we visited and thoughts that accompanied those places:
Monday, May 18, 2009
--> Mark’s Feed Store, Louisville, KY
After having spent about 7 hours in the car from Pittsburgh, we made the executive decision at some point that afternoon to stop in Louisville for dinner. I think we did this not only because we were getting hungry (which we were), but also because we didn’t want to feel like we had driven from western Pennslvania to Tennesee without having seen anything. In reality, we had driven through Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee, the largest number of states we’ll see in a day on this trip except maybe for the bulrush of a return drive we have planned for the end. Before they left Worcester, my brothers picked up a box full of AAA maps and guidebooks for every state we would drive through, and then some, so we used the one for Kentucky to try and find a place we could stop for dinner that would be relatively cheap, but more importantly delicious.
What we found was Mark’s Feed Store, a joint that more than adequately satiated both of those desires. Both Howie and I were looking for a place where we could get some authentic southern BBQ, and Mark’s hit the spot perfectly—I had half a chicken that left me stuffed and wishing I could somehow learn to replicate the creation of such a meal in my kitchen in Korea, or anywhere for that matter. I will certainly not claim to have any kind of expert knowledge of Louisville or its culinary offerings, but if you’re ever down there my suggestion would be to check this place out. Not only was the chicken great, but they also had fried corn on the cob that was really fantastic as well.
--> Somewhere on Highway 65 outside Horse Cave, KY
Horse Cave, which we happened upon while driving between Cincinnati and Louisville, is the birthplace of my great grandfather and the town in which he opened the first of his department stores in the early 1900s. We didn’t have the time to get off the road and drive around (the best we could do was unsuccessfully attempt to get a picture of the exit sign from the highway), but it’s not like I would have recognized anything in town anyway—I’ve never been there myself, and I would be surprised if my grandmother could even recognize any town landmarks.
Still, there was something interesting about driving by Horse Cave. I guess in some alternate universe I could have grown up there, although given all the variables that went into me being removed from my mother’s uterus on March 11, 1987, maybe that’s not really accurate. For my entire life, the only taste I’ve gotten of the southern life of my grandmother and her whole family has come through visits to Oklahoma (where a good portion of my family still lives), family dinners, and of course conversations with my grandmother. This is a part of my identity that is important but not particularly constant in the day-to-day activities of my life. In some ways, I’m hoping that this road trip will reconnect me with those roots and make me a little bit more intimately acquainted with a part of the country that is in some ways my home but in many more is a strange and foreign place.